It’s a new year, and for millions of Americans, that means anxiously awaiting the arrival of tax information forms and beginning the arduous annual process of filing a tax return.
Depending on your tax situation, you may use any of three forms to file your taxes: Form 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ. Form 1040EZ is frequently nicknamed “the easy form,” because it is the simplest of the three. Of course, not everyone can use Form 1040EZ. Per the IRS, you may use the easy form if all off the following criteria apply:
- Your filing status is single or married filing jointly
- You do not claim any dependents
- You do not claim any adjustments to income
- If you claim any credits, you only claim the earned income tax credit and the making work pay credit
- You—and your spouse, if you are filing jointly—were under age 65 and not blind in the tax year
- Your taxable income is less than $100,000
- Your income consisted only of wages, salaries, tips, taxable scholarship funds or fellowship payments, unemployment compensation, or Alaska Permanent Fund dividends, and your taxable interest was not over $1,500
- Any earned tips are included in boxes 5 and 7 of your W-2
- You did not receive any advance earned income tax credit payments
- You do not owe any household employee taxes on wages you paid to a household employee
- You are not a debtor in Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings
- You do not figure your standard deduction using Schedule L
Phew, that was a mouthful. While that list may seem like a daunting list of qualifiers, the truth is that many filers will be able to use the easy form. If you’re a wage earner without dependents, you’ll usually qualify for the 1040EZ form. Most dependents will also be able to use the easy form.
Filling out the 1040EZ is in fact a quick and easy process. Here’s a run down of the information you’ll need:
- Standard identification information: name, address, Social Security numbers for you and your spouse
- Wages, salaries, and tips earned by you and your spouse this year—available on your W-2
- Federal taxes paid from your wages—also available on your W-2
- Routing and account information for the account you would like a refund sent to
If you are, or were at any point during the tax year, a member of the Armed Services who had pay excluded from your taxes due to the Combat Zone Tax Exclusion, having the amount excluded will be useful in figuring out certain credits.
Form 1040EZ will help you through the process of figuring out if you qualify for any credits, and it will lead you through the process of determining what standard deduction to use and the proper exemption amount that you qualify for. (This number varies depending on whether or not the filer is married, single, or able to be claimed as someone else’s dependent.)
The form will lead you through figuring out your total payments and credits and then determine if you are owed a refund or if you need to send the IRS more funds. Once you have all of the forms in hand, the 1040EZ form takes all of a half hour to complete.
Published or updated April 4, 2013.